The Launch of BrandCommand
Monday, April 25, 2011 at 8:00AM
Chris Thurston in Brand Command, BrandCommand

Who would an established company call to help plot the launch of a new business venture? What if a company wanted to build an online community to engage their target audience, or a portal to provide marketing automation tools to their sales force? Where would they start? According to the new marketing consultancy, BrandCommand, it all starts with a strategic plan.

Chris Thurston, the former President and CEO of RightMinds and 21 year veteran of the advertising business, identified a disconnect in the industry and launched BrandCommand to fill the gap.  

For one, he knew that companies turn to marketing resources such as advertising agencies, web developers, and creative shops in order to create advertising, social media, websites, or marketing collateral.  

Secondly, he noticed that companies regularly deployed these resources and efforts in ways that did not live up to their potential.  To Thurston, this was not necessarily the fault of the selected marketing resource. Rather, far too many companies put the cart before the horse by not fully fleshing out their business strategy before going to market.

In some instances, Thurston noted, "the situation actually calls for a completely different approach, and not necessarily a traditional marketing effort. This could include a technology solution, or a different business, sales or operational approach yielding an even greater opportunity."  He noted that strategic planning also mitigates potential hurdles, and the resulting strategic focus almost always enhances the quality and effectiveness of the creative product and marketing campaigns.   

Therefore, BrandCommand focuses first on developing a strategic plan for how to best conquer the challenge or opportunity, evaluating any number of possible business approaches, marketing disciplines, and messaging strategies.  And then they engage the very specific resources that are best suited to implement the plan.  

"The benefit of being solution, marketing discipline, and even resource agnostic," says Thurston, "is that BrandCommand can engage any combination of creative, tactical, or technology resources imaginable from anywhere, rather than being limited to the resources of one shop, under one roof." Without having a vested interest in what the solution entails, much less who implements the solution, Thurston feels BrandCommand can more objectively address the client's situation, negotiate and work with the best and most talented resources for the job, and generate a greater return on the client's investment.  

Thurston's former company, RightMinds, once a $40 million dollar 55 person ad agency that occupied the top three floors of the iconic Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia, was the victim of the perfect storm.  After 21 years in business, it suffered collateral damage from the financial meltdown of 2009 and closed its doors when its largest client, LandAmerica, a multi-billion dollar financial and real estate services company, went bankrupt due to assets that were frozen in the financial markets. Shortly thereafter, several other clients stopped their marketing spending due to the economic challenges of the Great Recession, and ultimately RightMinds could not replace the lost business fast enough. 

Thurston says, "while I would have never chosen that outcome for me or the rest of the RightMinds team, it has given all of us an opportunity to start fresh, and focus on our strengths and what we like to do most."

Currently, BrandCommand provides brand and marketing strategy, senior level project management, as well as marketing management consulting both virtually and on location with clients, and then engages a variety of sub-contractors and strategic partners to support client engagements.  However, Thurston indicates that they will eventually seek a home office to reinforce their activities in the field.

Two of its more unique offerings include entrepreneurial venture consulting, and marketing automation planning and deployment.  

Entrepreneurial venture consulting is the art and science of helping companies launch entirely new ventures, such as a new business that targets a completely different audience than the core business, the repurposing of products or services to capture a new revenue stream, or the development of a new concept that a company would like to test.  With these types of engagements, BrandCommand can take on one consultative aspect of the venture, or serve in a broader capacity, and assist in driving the project from inception to development to launch.  

Marketing automation focuses on the development of online portals to support and empower organizations that have a national sales force, distributors, franchisees or retail locations, with unique tools and the ability to customize marketing communications based on local needs and audiences. It offers benefits such as faster and more marketing throughput, greater brand consistency and accountability, measurable savings of budget and steps, enhanced management of brand and legal compliance, and increased engagement in the field.  BrandCommand helps clients develop a plan, and then works with and manages a variety of resources for development, licensing and deployment of marketing automation solutions. 

BrandCommand plans to focus on the challenges and opportunities that senior level marketing executives face every day, and bring the right resources to the table to make things happen.  The result, Thurston says, "is more objective counsel, solutions that exceed expectations, greater returns on marketing investment, and hopefully a long-term strategic partnership that helps companies navigate the brand and marketing landscape today and in the future."   

BrandCommand is based in Richmond, Virginia.  For more information, contact Chris Thurston at 804-513-7566, or




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